She Comes In Waves

Crazy Mary

Humsting Records, 1999

http://crazymary.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/14/2000

Sometimes, when I listen to independent bands who are fighting for a chance to be screwed over by the big labels, I wonder why a certain band hasn't gotten the breaks to make the leap from relative unknown to superstar. Of course, there also are times when I wonder if a band wouldn't deserve a shot - say, a .38 slug through the breastbone.

Then, there are the times when I wonder where a potentially good band went wrong. Such is the case with Crazy Mary, a New York-based group whose second album She Comes In Waves has a few moments of potential, but otherwise is a weak effort.

The band - guitarist/vocalist Richard Morbid (who has since left the group), guitarist/vocalist Charles Kibel, vocalist Sophia Jackson, bassist/vocalist George Kerezman and drummer Nick Raisz - seem to capture the sense of alternative music well, in that they don't neatly fit into any musical category. But Crazy Mary has two major weaknesses: songwriting, and being able to stay in tune.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For the bulk of She Comes In Waves, the vocals seem to go flat at precisely the wrong times - and it doesn't matter who's acting as lead throat. Sorry, gang, but that's inexcusable; I don't expect absolute perfection, but it would be nice if you'd at least try to hit the target more often.

As for the songwriting - well, I don't know if Crazy Mary purposely tried to go for a minimalist instrumental touch on some of these tracks, but occasionally I get the feeling that just letting it rip musically could have helped the situation. Tracks such as "Burned," "Calendar Green," "Talking To Wendy" and "Paris (1944)" all seem like pale reflections of what could have been.

That missed potential is hammered home on the best track on the disc, "No Resistance" - ironically, the only track penned by Kerezman. (Memo to the band: I think I have your new CD lying around the Archives, and I will get to it - but you might want to give Kerezman a chance to write more. He's good.) The writing is solid, the performances have some muscle behind them - good grief, even the vocals sound impressive. If She Comes In Waves had a few more tracks like this on it, this disc would have been passable.

And though other tracks like "Cancer On The Photograph" and "Shock Me" try to maintain that drive, they're sadly not able to - though I don't fault these songs. Three songs just can't carry an album, no matter who the artist is.

And that's the thing that bothers me about She Comes In Waves. I truly believe this could have been a good album, if a little more TLC (that's "tender loving care" for the pre-1985 crowd out there) had been administered in the songwriting and recording phases. Crazy Mary needs to tighten up their song structures and work on singing in the correct key in order to rise up from being a spotty band to a good one.

Rating: C-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Humsting Records, and is used for informational purposes only.